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American Journal of Educational Research. 2016, 4(2A), 15-24
DOI: 10.12691/EDUCATION-4-2A-3
Research Article

Exploring Teachers’ Professional Identity in the Context of War Zone: A Case Study from Palestine

Bihan Qaimari1,

1Department of Soical and Behavioral Science, Birzeit University, Birzeit, Palestine

Pub. Date: March 10, 2016

Cite this paper

Bihan Qaimari. Exploring Teachers’ Professional Identity in the Context of War Zone: A Case Study from Palestine. American Journal of Educational Research. 2016; 4(2A):15-24. doi: 10.12691/EDUCATION-4-2A-3

Abstract

In many areas of the world there are violent political conflicts the consequences of which have an inevitable impact on the educational system. Palestine is one such country where the experience of violent political conflict, going back several decades, has had a devastating effect on the development and maintenance of a stable educational environment for children and their teachers. Up to now there have been few studies that have focused on the effects of living and working in a war zone on the professional identity of teachers. This paper aims to explore how the formation of Palestinian teachers’ professional identity was affected by their experiences during the violent conflict known as the Second Intifada (2000-2005) and its impact on the school social culture. In order to gain an in-depth understanding of the impact of political violence on the formation of the professional identity of Palestinian teachers, a qualitative multiple case-study approach was adopted which draws on sociocultural theories of identity formation. Data sources included observations inside schools and classrooms, field notes, a research diary, and both semi-structured group and individual interviews with teachers. The method of constant comparison used in Grounded Theory, plus the use of discourse analysis, provided the main approaches for the analysis and interpretation of the data. The findings suggest that Palestinian primary school teachers negotiate multiple conflicting identities through their everyday exposure to violent conflict and its impact on the schools’ social culture. This tension emerges as a result of the historical and cultural meanings that teachers use in constructing professional identity in the unstable and unsettling conditions that exist in their country. In addition, the data indicate that the proximity of a school’s geographical location in relation to violent conflict also influenced the degree of tension inherent in teachers’ professional identity. The study makes significant theoretical, practical and methodical contributions to the study of the formation of teachers’ professional identity in countries affected by violent political conflict.

Keywords

violent political conflict, education, professional identity, teachers, Palestine

Copyright

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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